Could early firings (and early hirings) become a trend?


With the Browns doing a bang-bang fire-and-hire on Thursday, emerging with a new G.M. in John Dorsey, it’s now clear that Cleveland moved quickly for fear of missing out on Dorsey if/when other teams fire General Mangers after the season and pursue him.

“That played into the decision making,” owner Jimmy Haslam told reporters on Friday regarding whether other teams looking for General Managers was a factor in the timing. “The hiring process in the NFL is difficult in that everybody that is going to make changes will make them — the last game is [December] 31. There will be a lot of changes made on the first and the second in head coaches and G.M.’s if this year follows the pattern. We thought that it was important for us to get a jump on that to get the best person possible, which we think we did. Then to allow, as I mentioned earlier, for John to come in the building, spend time with our coaches, spend time with our team, get a head start with the personnel guys, where we hit the ground running getting ready for free agency and getting ready for the draft.”

The explanation makes sense, but there’s a bird-in-the-hand quality to this approach. The Browns may have gotten the best possible person available now, but that doesn’t mean the Browns would have concluded that Dorsey was the best possible candidate if they’d waited for other teams’ seasons to end and if they’d begun scouring front offices for up-and-coming candidates who can’t be hired until January 1, at the earliest.

I won’t start listing the usual suspects because I’ll (as usual) leave someone out, but Dorsey won a competition consisting only of candidates who were currently available — a universe featuring Dorsey, Doug Whaley, Dave Gettleman, Mark Dominik, Trent Baalke, and anyone in the media who is trying to leverage his media platform in to a G.M. job, even if he swears he isn’t.

For the Browns, who currently own the worst two-year run in league history, the bar is sufficiently low to make a Contest of the Unemployed good enough to constitute improvement. But is the goal to simply be better, or is the goal to be as good as they possibly can be?

That said, let’s not rule out the possibility that the Browns discreetly explored (tampered) the question of whether candidates currently under contract would be willing to come to work for the team, if the team were willing to wait. And it’s possible (if not likely) that those candidates said they’d be interested only if they could wipe the slate clean, firing coach Hue Jackson and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta. With ownership committed to keeping both of them, the coming “A” list of candidates may have politely passed, one after another.

So to answer the question in the title to this item, hiring a General Manager before the postseason land rush begins could be not a trend but an aberration, fueled by the fact that several former General Managers were available, the Browns have been historically bad, and ownership justifiability feared that, if they wait for the game of musical chairs to begin, there will be more seats than asses, and when the music stops their chair would have been empty. Again.

14 responses to “Could early firings (and early hirings) become a trend?

  1. The Browns might be tougher to beat with this firing. If my Packers lose to the Browns and then don’t fire McCarthy, I’ll throw my milking stool out of the barn. And become a Bears fan.

  2. The extra time he gets before the offseason watching the team play and practice is invaluable when you are new to the team.. This decision was one the Browns actually got right for once.

  3. Dorsey did a good job with the Chiefs but the elephant in the room is what did he do that was so egregious he got fired? None of us as Chiefs fans know, regardless he’ll be a huge upgrade so good for the Browns

  4. The Browns can’t be bad forever, and the Pats can’t be good forever, sooner or later things will change in the NFL.Good luck for the browns, and the Pats…..Bill

  5. “a universe featuring Dorsey, Doug Whaley, Dave Gettleman, Mark Dominik, Trent Baalke,”

    That is not a compelling list of options. Dorsey was clearly the best available so can’t fault the Browns for moving quickly on him.

  6. Generally the teams making early changes are the teams that don’t have a clue. Would the other clueless teams follow the lead of the first clueless team? Probably. That’s why they’re cleaning house in the first place. John Dorsey has never built a winner. Why weren’t the good teams racing out to hire him? I do understand why the clueless teams would all be fighting over him, but my guess is he’ll be fired in a year or two. And then the clueless teams will be fighting over the next flavor of the month candidate.

  7. I think Edsales 87 is spot on! Good move by the Browns. Dorsey has run teams previously so the risk of failure is diminished and the team gets a head start on the “off season”. If Dorsey and Jackson cannot get along on their abbreviated tryout, Haslam can always say that it was Dorsey’s call to fire Jackson. The same holds true for DePodesta. Like most fans, I hope the decision portends the Haslams receding into the shadows and allowing the football people to run the team.

  8. So we can sit here and list the GM’s and coaches on the hot seat and speculate which ones will be available. Ae can also determine if we would be excited if they landed with the team we root for.
    But the Browns can’t?

    Also, I would think fellow GM’s communicate enough to know which ‘up and comers’ are in each front office. Do they all work in secure bunkers and use code names?
    Sure, they won’t know if the upland cimernis a fit. But they can know enough to decide if they want to check out an ‘unknown’ or go with a known quantity like Dorsey.

  9. Honestly, I can’t think of a single GM candidate that has any chance of becoming available this offseason that would be better than Dorsey. This was a solid hiring under any circumstances. Getting it done early is just icing on the cake.

  10. Scot Mcloughan is the best GM candidate out there. I blame Bruce Allen not alcohol (without knowing the full story, I could be wrong).

    Yes, he grabbed a beer during a ‘I don’t drink hard stuff anymore’ TV interview, which means he doesn’t get it (at that particular time).

    But according to everyone not named Snyder or Allen, he didn’t appear intoxicated in public. Doesn’t mean he quit but who knows.

    I do know that as an alcoholic, beer counts. The hardest thing to get over is other people get to do it, so it seems not fair. You then think, they can do it, so can I and the cycle begins anew.

    This cycle can go on for a lifetime. Quit for a year and back and forth.
    The day you realize that somehow, genetic, lifestyle, stars aligned, whatever, YOU can’t drink and other can, is the day you have a chance.

    All these people that say I’ve been sober for X days, X years…blah blah, great for you. Sobriety is 24 hours at a time. That’s it. Not fair, not easy but if and when Scot gets it, his talent will be back.

    It’s a hard road but many people live on hard roads and find a way to shine. Find a way, Scot. Talented GM’s are like QB’s. There are not enough of them.

  11. Jerry Reese is going to be the new GM Rooney Rule fall guy. The rule is a sham at this point. Anyone interviewing him can’t be serious, only trying to comply.

  12. If a season is lost, then there is no sense in keeping a coach until the end of the season. If they are going to be fired anyway, and a replacement hire is currently available and not under contract with another team, then ownership should move forward. The last couple of games would allow the new coach to get acclimated to the roster, and implement their system and get real game action feedback on both, in preperation for next season.

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